Aluminum Metal Finish Guide
Anodized (Bright Dipped Clear) Powder Coat Chrome Polished
Best Good Good/Fair Poor

Description: Our anodized finish is a chemical coating and sealing process on aluminum.

Appearance: Polished bright anodize looks like raw aluminum with a slight shine and smooth texture. The brushed finish is the same except for the textured brush lines in the aluminum.

Variations: polished anodized, brushed anodized, bright anodized

Process: Very much like the chroming process, anodizing requires hand polishing and cleaning then electrochemical baths to coat and seal the aluminum. The "bright" comes from an acid etching step that actually micro-polishes the aluminum giving it a shiny overall finish. This helps the appearance since anodizing usually has a dull finish.

Pros: Classy subtle shine, extremely durable, scratch resistant, cheaper, easy to clean, good choice for salt and harsh marine environments.

Cons: more expensive than just polished, not as lustrous as chrome.

Description: Powder Coating is a "dry powder" paint process developed for metal.

Appearance: Same as regular paint with a wide array of color choices and finishes.

Process: Powder Coating is electrostatically applied to the metal surface in a "dry powder" form. Once the surface has been covered, the entire part enters an oven and is heat cured.

Pros: Wide array of colors and finishes to match existing boat colors, more durable than regular paint, scratch resistant, easy to clean and maintain.

Cons: Will eventually fade in direct sunlight. Can peel or chip under stress.

Description: Chrome finish is an actual metal coating electroplated on top of the base metal (aluminum in this case).

Appearance: Chrome is the most brilliant of all the finishes. Highly reflective mirror-like finish with no texture.

Process: Chrome plating aluminum is not an easy or cheap task (especially if the chrome is to last). First, the aluminum part must be hand polished and cleaned. All of our chromed parts are done in the US and go through a 20 step electroplating process. This includes acid etching, copper baths, and nickel baths all while being cleaned before the next process.

Pros: Extremely lustrous, hard finish, scratch resistant, easy to clean, provides a long lasting shine.

Cons: Expensive, can peel or bubble if not plated correctly (we have seen many chrome products from overseas fail).

Description: Polished finish is simply polished raw metal. There is no coating. Many products from overseas will come this way because it is a cheap process.

Appearance: Almost chrome-like shine but with a slight cloudiness.

Process: This is the process that chrome and anodized parts must go through initially. It involves a multi-step process that utilizes buffing wheels and different buffing compounds. This process basically smears the metal into a very smooth shiny finish.

Pros: high luster, cheap, can be repolished (although expensive).

Cons: Absolutely no protection, will oxidize and dull quickly, hard to clean, scratches easily, shows dirt and water spots if not cleaned, will blacken hands on contact.